music making

Playing Tip: RELAX and Just Be You

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This is a shorty so here goes.....

In the world of music and being a musician, performer, composer and teacher, I often see people who are trying to play like someone else. I’ll admit, I’ve fallen into this trap as well especially as a performer.  I remember times in the not so distant past, trying to play didgeridoo like this person or that person and falling flat on my face. It’s a special brand of self-torture I think we all engage in from time to time. Especially when we find someone who excites us so much we want to do what they’re doing. The truth is, we can’t do what they do, in the way they do it. And we shouldn’t. It leaves little room to find our own voice. I think there are a couple of reasons why we engage in trying to play like someone else. One is healthy and the other is not. It seems the healthy way is to play like your hero so you can use these skills as a springboard to explore your own voice and gifts. The unhealthy way is to keep playing like your hero in hopes of sounding like them. Enter the special brand of self-torture of feeling so unsatisfied with your own playing that often times you feel like quitting. So what can one do to get out of this trap if we find ourselves in it? I offer this tip.....

Just sit for a moment, let yourself breathe and your mind relax and then, when you really feel ready, just let yourself simply play your instrument and truly love what you hear.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

We live in a complicated world where we feel that to make things more complicated than they are is the way to success. The harder we work at something, the more we feel we’re accomplishing something. Actually, the opposite it true. If we can get ourselves to relax into what we’re doing and just love what we are hearing and allow ourselves to be where we’re at (i.e. engaging in non self-judgment or in “beginners mind”) then we stand a chance to finding that voice from within that is trying to express itself through you. This works as much in life as it does in making music. So if you find yourself trying to sound like so and so because the are sooooo cool, you can do that but let it be place where you can use it as a jumping off point to find your own expression.

Nuff said. Now go make some beautiful noise and love THAT!




The Patreon Connection: Exploring Online Patron Support

To connect to my Patreon page just click the image above

To connect to my Patreon page just click the image above

As an independent artist, it's always a challenge to find ways of getting the music I make out there and find support for that music. For musicians, some avenues can include Youtube, websites, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon Music and a whole host of other online platforms not to mention performing and touring.  Since I've never had the experience of being signed to a label, I've relied mostly on performing, personal connection and a DIY online presence through this website, social media and download sites to get the music out there. I've engaged in subscription services like Taxi (and independent A&R for film music), Music Marketing Manifesto and checked out more DIY tips for musicians than I care to admit. There is a LOT of great information out there but it can be overwhelming not to mention time consuming. Since the massive changes that the music industry has undergone over the last twenty years or so, there is no shortage of an ever-evolving plethora of avenues for content creators to get their work out there. Patreon is one of those avenues.

I heard about Patreon about two years ago while taking a webinar.  Patreon is a platform where patrons and creators can connect to bring music, art, dance, comics, great ideas or what have you to an audience. It's kind of like Kickstarter but instead of funding one project, Patreon is an ongoing effort where patrons opt in at "X" amount of dollars a month to support creators in their ever day work.  This great news for creators and independent artists because it smooths out and otherwise sporadic, if not unreliable, income base that most creators experience. So, if you're an independent artist or content creator, you may want to check out Patreon as a possible avenue for your work. For patrons, it can raise some question like:

"This sounds great but isn't it a bit like online begging?"

If a creator works things right on their profile page then, no, it wouldn't be online begging. The reason why are the rewards that patrons get for their money. These rewards can vary greatly but ultimately, it's up to the patron to decide if they are worth contributing to. This is where the term ROI comes into play. For those of you who are not really into economic speak ROI is "return on investment." There is considerable investment on both sides. From an creator's standpoint, the investment is time, effort and thought that goes into making a viable package that hopefully appeals to potential patrons. It's also the time and effort into making doable deliverables (i.e. music downloads, high quality photos, helpful blog posts, tutorials that help patrons, etc).  From a patron standpoint, those deliverables have to be worth it and on time if a timeline is specified. If a creator can't deliver then they run the risk of losing patrons and gaining a bad reputation. The end game is that creators and patrons work together in bringing more art into a world that can definitely use it. This is especially vital now in a world that is changing so fast and can be very stressful. 

I've been on Patreon now for almost two years and have learned some valuable lessons, the biggest of which is maintaining a consistency. I admit that I am not the most consistent or willing marketer of my wares on the planet but getting a patron here and losing a patron there has taught me that being consistent in getting content out there and letting people know about it is vital to success. With that said, I've been taking some time to focus on narrowing things down to a few avenues to bring in a more consistent income with the music I make and I've chosen Patreon as one of those avenues. This is because it gives me a different way of getting the music out there. For example, the "traditional" way of buying music has been through either purchasing a CD at performances or online or downloading albums on the web. The way I've worked Patreon however, is for $5 a month, patrons who have signed up can download a new song each week. Just prior to releasing these songs, I will put out a video of the piece in my patron feed so patrons can hear it. It's simple and easy and folks who have signed up can get the music before it's available anywhere else. If you can't afford $5 a month then I also have a $1 a month tier where you get featured videos, tutorials on making music, photos and blog posts on didgeridoo, composition, creating musical content and more (the $5 a month tier gets all this too plus the weekly downloads).  Patrons can adjust their contribution to fit their budget and can opt out any time.

I have no idea if this strategy will work. It all depends on how all of you like to get their music. I know some of you will really be into this and some of you would rather buy a CD or a download. But it's one more way of getting the music out there. The pledges I receive from Patreon has so far have helped to maintain a web presence but I would like to do much more. Some of my goals are to purchase musical instruments for ever expanding creative ideas, upgrade equipment to bring better quality sound to album production and to grow my audience through email, ad purchases and memberships. down the road, I would love to start creating multi-media events with a message. More on that later. All of this leads up to to the end game of putting the best quality music I can out there to help make this a better and happier world for you, my audience. I know it sounds a little cheesy but this is my ultimate ROI. As an independent artist, I can't really think of any better way to  be of service. 

Thank you so much for reading this. I know it was a long haul but I hope you find this information helpful either as a supporter or as a creator. I'm grateful to those of you who have signed up already or who have found other ways of supporting the work I do. I seriously couldn't do the work without that support so thank you, thank you, thank you! I really appreciate it! 

If you want to check out my Patreon page you can do so by clicking here or the Patreon logo above. If you found this article helpful or if you have any other questions , send me an email at and let me know. 

Many thanks and take care Everyone! Peace!

Your Didge Servant, Pam